Her eldest brother, Nderitu, in school himself, suggested it. She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 I believe. For Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting the powerful work of female Goldman Environmental Prize winners. After graduating near the top of her class from a convent high school, she was awarded a U.S. government scholarship designed to enable young Kenyans to be post-independence leaders. But Maathai showed them how, building on skills they already had. Maathai began making connections others hadn’t. [32][33], "Our List of Top Influential African Women in 2018", "Trees for Africa and Beyond: The Vision Continues", "My mother, the Nobel Peace Prize pioneer", "Personality of the week: Wanjira Mathai, Green Belt Movement", "Wanjira Mathai '94 Named Personality of the Week", "Wanjira Mathai| World Forestry Congress", "We #Zoomin: on WPower's Director Wanjira Mathai", "Seeking synergy: Funding Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation | Synergos", "Values-based youth leadership education key to environmental sustainability: Wangari Maathai Foundation chair", "Climate Change Resilience May Mean Planting More Trees", "A Billion People Practicing Emotional Intelligence: The EQ Network Vision", "Beyond COP21: My Stroll With Wanjira Mathai, Director, wPOWER Hub, Wangari Maathai Institute & Chair, the Green Belt Movement", "Our Vision | Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies", "We the Future 2019: Talks from TED, the Skoll Foundation and the United Nations Foundation", "Hurray! Plant a tree in your neighborhood, download teaching materials, or help fund our projects in Kenya. During the 1970s and 1980s, she came under increasing scrutiny from the government of Daniel arap Moi. She was elected to Parliament in 2002, then appointed deputy minister of environment and natural resources. In 1998, the Movement led a crusade against the illegal allocation of parts of the 2,000 acre Karura Forest, a vital water catchment area in the outskirts of Nairobi. Heavy rains had washed away much of the topsoil, silt was clogging the rivers, and fertilizers were depriving the soil of nutrients. In 2018 Mathai was selected as one of the 100 Most Influential Africans by New African Magazine, as well as the Top Influential African Women by the African Leadership University. This was absolutely incredible. Starting with seven seedlings on World Environment Day in 1977, the Movement soon began a widespread tree-planting strategy in which over a thousand seedlings were planted in long rows to form green belts of trees, thus marking the very beginning of the Green Belt Movement. “I used to get hoarse shouting from outside,” Maathai laughs. In the 1970s, Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, an environmental non-governmental organization focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation, and women's rights. Her book, The Green Belt Movement is published by Lantern Books. [14][1] In this capacity Mathai convinced the Kenyan Environment Minister Judi Wakhungu to commit to restoring 12.6 million acres of deforested land in Kenya by 2030, building on her mother's environmental activism legacy. In the 1970s, Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, an environmental non-governmental organization focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation, and women's rights. At the glittery concert, Maathai joked as Winfrey and Cruise looked on: “Because I am used to the grassroots, digging holes and planting trees, it has not been very easy to be at the top!”. [3][4] Her mother, Wangari Maathai, was a social, environmental and political activist and the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, in 2004. Despite the Green Belt Movement high profile in international NGO and donor circles, Maathai has always had to scramble to meet program and staff costs. The third child of a sharecropper father and subsistence farmer mother, Maathai began attending school at age seven. We’d love your help. Wangari Maathai (1940–2011) was the founder of the Green Belt Movement and the Wangari Maathai Institute. Wangari Maathai received the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize, in part, for her work with the Green Belt Movement. You’re just talking.” — Wangari Maathai. They had once been her jailors. What is the Green-belt movement? Under the auspices of the National Council of Women of Kenya, of which she was chairwoman from 1981 to 1987, she introduced the idea of planting trees through citizen foresters in 1976, and called this new organization the Green Belt Movement (GBM). Her unlined face makes her look much younger than her age. Among these are cultivation of more nutritious, indigenous foods; low-tech but effective ways to harvest and store rainwater; training in entrepreneurship; and providing information on reproductive health and HIV/AIDS prevention. In her Nobel Prize acceptance speech in December, she said the purpose of the program was to help people “make the connections between their own personal actions and the problems they witness in their environment and society.” With this knowledge they wake up—like looking in a new mirror—and can move beyond fear or inertia to action. “She’s an African iron core lady, a strong lady, brain-wise,” said Bernard Mungai, a Nairobi driver, in a typical reaction to the Nobel news. Mathai was born and raised in Kenya. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. In addition to helping local women to generate their own incomes through such ventures as seed sales, the Movement has succeeded in educating thousands of low-income women about forestry and has created about 3,000 part-time jobs. Since Maathai started the movement in 1977, over 30 million trees have been planted. I highly recommend it. In this role, she takes on global issues including deforestation and energy access. Looking back over the 40 years, the journey has by no means been easy, with efforts to repress the Green Belt Movement between 1989 and 1999. 284 Madrona Way NE, Ste 116, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110, Custom Service Can Be Reached at 800-937-4451, +1-206-842-0216, or by Mail At.

Sustainable Community Action is a FANDOM Lifestyle Community. In the mid-1970s, Maathai, in an effort to meet the basic needs of rural women, began to plant trees with them. Lillian Muchungi, a long-time  Green Belt Movement staff member who had been arrested with Maathai, was disbelieving: “Now they are clearing the way for her. Wanjira Mathai (born December 1971) is a Kenyan environmentalist and activist. When asked of her work with the foundation, Mathai responded "I am not living in my mother’s Shadow, I am basking in her light...". She was ridiculed publicly by parliament and then-President Daniel Arap Moi, who called her a mad woman and a “divorcée.” At protests, government security forces and hired thugs regularly inflicted beatings—once to within a panga (club) blow of Maathai’s life. In 19, Wangari Maathai was a Kenyan environmental and political activist. After a series of violent confrontations with Maathai and the Green Belt Movement over Karura Forest in 1999, the regime abandoned its illegal development plans. Maathai plans to use the Peace Prize to ensure that her words translate to action. Originally, Mathai served as Director of International of Affairs of the Green Belt Movement from 2002 and later was made Executive Director of the organization. Disappointed, but not deterred, the National Council of Women of Kenya urged her to pursue the idea and in 1977, the Green Belt Movement was born.

She continued to develop GBM into broad-based, grassroots organization whose focus was women's groups planting of trees in order to conserve the environment and improve their quality of life. In Africa, as in many parts of the world, women are responsible for meals and collecting firewood. Sign up to receive email updates from YES! In 1960, she won a Kennedy scholarship to study in America and earned a master's degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh and became the first woman in East Africa to earn a PhD Returning to Kenya in 1966, Wangari Maathai was shocked at the degradation of the forests and the farmland caused by deforestation. She is Vice President and Regional Director for Africa at the World Resources Institute, based in Nairobi, Kenya[1]. Elgon water tower, Children’s Books Featuring Professor Wangari Maathai, Forest and Landscape Restoration in the Mau. For their boldness, Maathai and Green Belt colleagues were subjected to stints in jail and harassment, including death threats. Wangari Muta Maathai was born in Nyeri, Kenya in 1940.